In the fall of 2007 ASPCA president Ed Sayres stood at the podium at the posh Rainbow Room at Rockefeller Center and presented the group's lifetime achievement award to Bill Smith, founder of Main Line Animal Rescue in Chester County, for his work rehabilitating dogs who suffered years of abuse in Pennsylvania puppy mills
This week Sayres was tapped to lead the Washington, D.C.-based group that represents commercial dog breeders.
Sayres was named president of PIJAC, the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council, the national lobby group for pet stores, pet product makers, pet dealers and pet breeders..
Sayres resigned from the ASPCA last year amid a board battle over the direction of the 148-year-old organization, his more than $500,000 salary and other issues. One particularly sensitive rift stemmed from which legislative battles to pursue and how aggressively to pursue them, if at all.
Former ASPCA investigator Bob Baker told the New York Times last year, that  "legislation doesn't raise money... but show one picture of a mistreated dog and the funds would pour in."
"It got to the point where animal welfare was not the priority, fund-raising was."
PIJAC, which counts among its members the Hunte Corporation - the largest puppy broker in the nation - did not announce Sayres' appointment on its website. The only mention of it online was in a blog post defending the decision to angry members threatening to cancel their memberships over the hiring of an "industry-killing animal rightist."
The post says in part:

Ed’s unique combination of experience and perspective distinguished him from other candidates. We have discussed his previous statements and actions with him at length and believe that he shares our firm commitment to the health and well-being of pets and all of the businesses and individuals who support them, both within PIJAC and the broader pet trade. -

 Word of the appointment shocked many in the animal welfare community.

Bob Baker, now executive director of Missouri Animal Alliance, called it a "peculiar choice." He said Sayres wasn't terribly respected in the animal welfare community, so if PIJAC hired him to build bridges with opponents that will backfire.
"If PIJAC is truly sincere in their efforts to support common sense rules and regulations for the welfare of animals," said Baker, who as director of the Missouri Alliance for Animal Legislation battled with PIJAC over new puppy mill regulations in his state. "They need to show it with their actions in legislative bodies and not resort to PR stunts such as hiring a fake animal welfare person."
PIJAC regularly fights against humane animal legislation in Congress and in the states. Most recently the group has been engaged in trying to block efforts to ban the sale of commercially-bred dogs in pet stores. In a letter to members Andrew Hunte, president of the Hunte Corporation, in a letter implored dog breeders to "set their doubts about Sayres behind and unite around PIJAC" to face the threats from "over-regulation" endangering their industry.
Meanwhile, Sayres too wrote to breeders saying he believed he could bridge the divide between the animal welfare community and commercial breeders, while at the same time  issuing a mea culpa about statements made while he was at the ASPCA.

I know now that I was misinformed about the majority of breeders who work diligently to raise puppies humanely and to find lifetime homes through retail channels. While many in the animal welfare field still want to paint all breeders with the same low standards brush, I look forward to opening their eyes to the true nature of the breeding business.

At the same time its website promotes efforts of its members to provide funding for animal welfare and support activities such as adoptions.
Story has been updated to include response from Sayres' and Andrew Hunte